United Auto Workers boss Bob King told Reuters and the Detroit Free Press in an interview that the labor organization is changing its strategy when dealing with foreign automakers with U.S. factories. King told the news organizations that it will no longer identify a target – a move he says is crucial for the UAW’s survival.
“We’re shifting our strategy a little bit. We are not going to announce a target at all,” UAW President Bob King said in an interview with Reuters and the Detroit Free Press. “We are not going to create a fight.”
King said the UAW decided today to concentrate its efforts to working with the transnational or “transplant” automakers instead of against them and that they were in talks with “almost all” of the German, Japanese, and Korean automakers with U.S. factories.
The UAW cancelled plans to “target” U.S. dealerships of foreign automakers with U.S. dealerships with picketers. The UAW believes a more diplomatic approach toward the companies will yield better results than an adversarial approach.
“It really is ultimately up to the companies,” said King. “We are going to continue our discussions with workers and at the point that we think there is majority support, we’ll move forward an election process.”
The UAW represents about 377,000 workers; approximately 115,000 work for U.S. automakers; the balance of UAW members includes workers in other industries including casinos, aerospace, and nursing as well as graduate teaching assistants at U.S. universities. Total UAW membership is down 42 percent since 2004. UAW membership peaked at nearly 1.5 million in 1979.